Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ghostbusters Pinball

Earlier in the year when there was a leak of the backglass for Stern's next release, many called it bogus. Too many thought the art was just something drawn up by a fan but... I was ready to believe. I held out hope that we would get a Ghostbusters table, one that is based on the original Ghostbusters. Nothing against the upcoming Paul Feig-directed Ghostbusters but I'm a huge fan of the '84 roster. How much of a fan? Well, I have a limited-run Ghostbusters poster framed in my living room...
A 16-inch Stay Puft toy and a diecast model of a 1959 Cadillac hearse, the very same model as the Ecto-1...
When Stern made the official announcement of Ghostbusters, I jumped clean out of my seat and I think my announcement post makes that quite clear. Stern has been upping the ante lately with their tables and have been turning out many high quality releases. I remember looking at the preview pictures of Ghostbusters and knowing that this table was going to be good, if not one of the best. I posted in the Toronto Pinball Crew to tell the operators in the Crew that we need Ghostbusters in Toronto. Luckily, they heard the call and were right on it! Toronto Coin Exchange was quick in placing a Ghostbusters table at local favorite California Sandwiches and City Pinball responded by adding one of their own to the stacked roster at Cabin Fever. Not to be outdone, TCE then went and placed ANOTHER table at Roxy Bar! How lucky we are to have not one, not two but THREE Ghostbusters tables! I have had plenty of time to play the table and so I am excited to present to you my review of Ghostbusters
I'm just going to get this out of the way right now... I love this table! Ghostbusters is the total package. Great design all around, whether it's the playfield, art, music, sound, or DMD animations. It was clear how much work went into this table.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mousin' Around at Leisure Lanes

Toronto Coin Exchange has been getting a bit more bold in their selections at Leisure Lanes in Oshawa. For the longest time, there was a mix of Sterns but in the last few years, all sorts of classic tables have been appearing at the Lanes, like The Getaway and White Water. Now there is one helluva throwback in the form of Mousin' Around!
TCE has overhauled the pinball selection at Leisure Lanes, upgrading the usual pair to a trio of tables with the latest lineup being The Sopranos, Mousin' Around and Revenge From Mars! Not a bad selection if you ask me!  
When I started playing Mousin' Around, I started getting some flashbacks of memories gone by. Back in the day, my family and I would head down to Leamington to visit some of our extended family and we used to stay at Pelee Motor Inn. I have such fond memories of this hotel because it had this totally far out atrium that many of the rooms looked down into and there were all sorts of things to do in there. Arcade machines all around, two indoor pools, and another little arcade tucked away in one of the corners. I remember playing Star Trek: 25th Anniversary and Mousin' Around there and so when I saw the latter at Leisure Lanes, all these memories came flooding back. I really enjoyed Mousin' Around but not just for nostalgia's sake. After a few games of this underrated System-11, I found that it is actually quite a solid title.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo Part II

Par for the course, here I am with Part II of my trip report for Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo several months after the fact. At the very least, here it is! In Part I of my Florida APE trip report, I covered a few of the unique tables at the show, The Champion Pub and Banzai Run! I have been looking through my photos quite a bit, trying to stir up some ideas for another post and the main thing I noticed is just how good looking many of the tables at the Expo were. Like I mentioned in my trip report preview post, the dark arcade-like atmosphere of the Expo was a great way to showcase how much love and care were put into these tables. Private owners and a couple of operators put a lot of hard work into restoring and maintaining these tables and it really showed, what with all the lights turned down.
One table I was quite excited to see at Florida APE was Swords of Fu-LION MAN LION MAN-ry. Last time I saw this table was at the 2013 Ottawa Pinball Expo and was quite surprised at the complexity of this System-11 machine! I talked about SoF in the Ottawa Pinball Expo trip report but I don't see why I can't talk about it some more! Plus, I have some really nice pictures of SoF so why miss out on sharing them with you?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Hangouts at Cabin Fever

It was another snowy weekend in April here in Toronto. Just when we thought we had escaped the winter hellscapes of January and February, Old Man Winter hit us with one last blast. The weather didn't stop a couple of folks from the Ottawa Pinball Scene and House of TARG from swinging by Cabin Fever for an afternoon of pinball! I came out to visit the boys from Ottawa and represent the Big Smoke. When I stepped into Cabin Fever, I saw that Toronto Pinball Fever were having their first End-of-Month tournament so we had a great showing of the Toronto Pinball Crew.
I had a great time catching up with my buddy Monty of Ottawa Punk Pinball (follow him on Instagram @OttawaPunkPinball) and hearing about what's shakin up in this nation's great capital. It sounds like things are going real well there and House of TARG is kickin' ass! I can't wait to head back up to Ottawa and do some work at stealin' girlfriends and high scores. MUF has made his mark known before...
A few of the guys that came down to the city with Monty work at House of TARG and were quite excited to see The Shadow as a part of Cabin Fever's lineup. House of TARG has had quite a few machines in rotation over the past two years and most of the tables at Cabin Fever had been a part of TARG's roster at one point or another except for The Shadow. So, we played quite a few games on that table in between Toronto Pinball Fever's tournament rounds.
Speaking of Toronto Pinball Fever, I want to give a shout-out to the newest league to pop up! The format of Toronto Pinball Fever is a bit different than that of City Pinball. It's a "Super Selfie League" and you register at Cabin Fever each month for only 5 bucks. It's super play so you can play whenever you want on any of the tables at Cabin Fever and when you get a decent score, you can post a selfie with the score on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to record your score. Make sure to tag @TorontoPinball and @CabinFever in your post! You can post as
many scores as you wish and the top 50% will go on to the End-of-Month playoffs! It's a good format for those that might be busy on the Wednesday nights that City Pinball runs or just want to play a more casual league format. I've signed up for April so hopefully I can start posting some scores! I had a few good ones last night but I didn't want to get in the way of the play-off games by awkwardly squeezing in between the machines for a selfie. Next time though! You should drop by Cabin Fever 'cause they have great lineups. Great lineups of pinball, records, beers, and sandwiches too! Dig all the pinball-themed names! There is even a sandwich named after one of the City Pinball fellas, Mike Bartolo!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo 2016 Trip Report

Alright, let's get to talking about the 2016 Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo! I went way out of my comfort zone of Toronto to attend this one. For those long-time readers, you know quite well that I'm not bound to the city limits of the Big Smoke. I get around to all sorts of Expos, like Michigan Pinball Expo and Ottawa Pinball Expo. Now we can mark the Florida APE off the list! There has been something on my chest for quite some time about Expos that I just haven't been able to articulate until now. I picked up a book called The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross and in the foreword by Ken MacLeod, he says something in regards to conventions that "the peculiar melancholy of looking back on a con and realising no matter how good of a time you had, there was even more that you missed." That is exactly how I feel about pinball expos!
No matter how many machines I played, no matter how many pictures I took, I always think about the stuff that I missed. Shamefully, I missed out on playing the new P3 game Lexy Lightspeed as well as a few others I was hoping to play. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out; the lineup for a pinball machine is just too long or it's out of service while you're there. I just find it so difficult to wait in line for a pinball machine at Expos. You never know how good the person ahead of you is playing or if they're a goof and started a 4 player game for themselves. Pinball Expos must be a nightmare for those with short attention spans. You're waiting in line for a particular machine but there's so many around you making all this noise and lightshows that you just kind of wander out of line and find yourself playing something else. I have to say I am a pretty focused individual but when it comes to expos, I just lose all focus! There are all sorts of different machines I want to play, some that I rarely see on route or that I haven't seen before, like The Champion Pub!

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Alright, I'm just gonna get the cliche out of the way now... WHO YA GONNA CALL??

Well, looks like you will be calling Stern Pinball!
Now, with that out of the way, I would like to say "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH OH MY GORD!!!!!!!!!!" I am so SO STOKED to see this! Ghostbusters pinball! I can't believe it. Actually, yes I can. I'm ready to believe you. There has been rumors abound and leaks regarding the backglass artwork and whatnot but many claimed it was "too good to be true". Well, it looks TOO GOOD and it is TRUE because Stern made the announcement today!
Holy moley, this table looks downright amazing. Hand-drawn artwork, all sorts of toys, so many references to the movie and that ECTO-1 SIDEART OH MY!!
I'm calling it now... Ghostbusters is going to be one of Stern's BEST tables. At the very least it will be my favorite table! John Trudeau is the designer of Ghostbusters and based on the amount of stuff packed into the playfield, it looks like Stern has finally let him off the leash. There looks to be a ton of shots, a really big and steep ramp, a Slimer bash toy
and a big ol' Stay Puft looming over the table. The Slimer moves too; hitting Slimer causes him to "slime" the playfield and turn a bunch of targets green which you then have to clean up. The Pro table looks to be losing out on a few toys and features but at least it doesn't seem to be as pared down as Game of Thrones Pro was. The Pro version still features the same cityscape over the pop bumpers which I think is a really neat addition and helps build a little New York City under glass.
The Premium and Limited editions come with some sort of a ghost hologram target which sounds pretty neat along with upgraded metal ramps and magnetic slingshots. I'm interested to see how the gameplay varies with that. It sounds like getting caught up in the slingshots could get a helluva lot more unpredictable. There are also a few more new toys like the storage containment unit and public library.
The artwork, which is done by Jeremy Packer, otherwise known as Zombie Yeti, looks amazing and very colourful. (Neat fact, Zombie Yeti was the fellow that was working on John Popadiuk's Magic Girl pinball before that went belly up) There looks to be all sorts of little details and references packed into the art. There is even a little pinball machine tucked away in the Firehouse toy!
The premise of the table is similar to the 2009 Ghostbusters video game in that you as the player are a new Ghostbuster recruit and gotta bust hella ghosts (also bust some high scores)! Ernie Hudson was also brought on to do custom callouts along with classic quips from the movie so that should be pretty cool too.

I think I better start saving up my money because if there is one machine I need to buy, it's this one. I'll be keeping a very close eye on the Ghostbusters release so you better keep a close eye on Bumper City! When this baby pops up in the wild, you best believe I will have a review ready to go!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo 2016 Preview!

Boy, do I have a surprise for you... So, I ended up heading down to Florida this month for a little R&R and I just so happened to find myself at the Florida Arcade and Pinball Expo otherwise known as APE! 
What a show! I was really impressed with the lineup at APE. There was a great selection of pinball and arcade machines from all eras which meant that a few of my old favourites were available to play. 
Now, dig that! All the lights are turned down in the venue which evokes the memories of hanging out in dark arcades. It was dark, it was noisy and damn it was fun! 
There were quite a few tables I haven't reviewed before, like Cirqus Voltaire and The Champion Pub so be on the lookout for a few trip report posts very soon! I had my camera in tow along with some new lenses to play around with I took full advantage of APE and took lots of really cool pictures of the machines. More to come soon but for now, enjoy some pictures from Florida Arcade & Pinball Expo!